SOP – Kitchen / F&B Production – Holding of Prepared Hot / Cold Foods In Kitchen

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How To Hold Prepared Hot and Cold Foods

In any kitchen or food and beverage production facility, it is important to maintain the quality and safety of the food being prepared. One of the key aspects of this is the holding of prepared hot or cold foods.

Hot foods must be kept at a temperature above 60°C to prevent bacterial growth, while cold foods must be kept below 5°C to prevent spoilage. It is essential to have proper holding equipment such as warming trays, hot boxes, and refrigeration units to maintain the required temperature.

Additionally, it is important to monitor the holding time of prepared foods. Food that has been held for too long can become a breeding ground for bacteria and cause foodborne illnesses. As a general rule, hot foods should not be held for more than two hours, while cold foods should not be held for more than four hours.

Properly holding prepared hot and cold foods not only ensures their safety but also helps to maintain their quality and flavour. By following these guidelines, kitchens and food and beverage production facilities can provide their customers with delicious and safe meals.

All hot food should be held hot at above 57º Celsius and cold food should be held cold below 5º Celsius. Temperatures of food will be taken routinely to ensure that proper temperatures are maintained through holding to ensure the safety of the food served to customers. Any conflict between food quality and food safety must always be decided in favour of food safety and when in doubt about the safety of food, throw or discard the food.

Holding Prepared Foods in Kitchen Standard Procedures:

1) How to Hold Prepared Hot Foods in the Kitchen?

  • Always prepare and cook only as much food as is needed.
  •  Batch cooking is recommended and ideal for maintaining food temperature and quality.
  •  Use food warmers, food heating lamps, or hot-holding equipment that can keep hot food at 57º Celsius or higher.
  •  Make sure to Follow the manufacturer’s instructions in using the food warmer or hot-holding equipment.
  •  For food warmers using steam, indicate that the steam table wells need to be filled with hot water and at what level.
  •  Keep foods covered to retain heat and to keep contaminants from falling into food.
  •  Use a calibrated thermometer for measuring internal food temperatures once an hour.
  •  Record temperatures in the Holding Temperature Log and take required action accordingly.
  •  If temperatures are below 57º Celsius then reheat the food to 74º Celsius.
  •  Discard hot potentially hazardous food after four hours if they have not been properly held at or above 57º Celsius.
  •  Never mix freshly prepared food with food being held for service.
How to Hold Prepared Hot Foods in the Kitchen

2) How to Hold Prepared Cold Food in the Kitchen?

  • Use cold-holding equipment or a refrigerated counter that can keep cold foods below 5º Celsius.
  •  Use a calibrated thermometer for measuring internal food temperatures once an hour.
  •  Record temperatures in the Holding Temperature Log and take required action accordingly.
  •  If temperatures are above 5º Celsius, then refrigerate the food again or adjust the temperature.
  •  Protect cold food from contaminants with covers or food shields.
  •  Discard cold potentially hazardous foods after four hours if they have not been properly held below 5º Celsius.
  •  If there are no temperature controls, cold food held for longer than six hours must be discarded.
  • Place cold food in pans or on plates first, never place them directly on ice.
  • The only exceptions are whole fruits and vegetables that will be washed after holding.
  • Ice used on a display should be self-draining.
  • Make sure to wash and sanitize drip pans after each use. 
refrigerated counter top

Training Summary questions:

Q1. What is the purpose of this SOP?

Q2. What frequency is the temperature of the holding food to be checked?

Q3. Explain how to hold prepared hot foods in the kitchen.

Q4. Why does the food need to be discarded if they have not been properly held at the correct temperature?

Q5. What should be the holding temperature for Hot and Cold foods?

SOP Number: Kitchen / F&B Production SOP – 8
Department: Kitchen / Food Production - Receiving Food and Raw Materials 
Date Issued: 20-Sep-2018
Time to Train: 30 Minutes

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